Since his inauguration, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s wife made it clear she had no intention of leaving the workforce. However, it quickly became clear Cathy Malloy would be looking for work closer to her new home in Hartford and Monday she found it.
The Greater Hartford Arts Council announced it hired Mrs. Malloy as its next chief executive officer. Mrs. Malloy left her job in Stamford as executive director of the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in June after several months of long commutes.
“We are thrilled to have identified a professional with a wealth of experience in successful nonprofit leadership as well as a demonstrated passion for the arts,” Arts Council Board Chair Jay Benet said in a statement.
But a good resume and leadership skills aren’t the only things an organization has to consider when it hires the wife of a sitting governor.
Andrew McDonald, Gov. Malloy’s legal counsel, said in a phone interview Monday that as Mrs. Malloy was preparing to leave her job in Stamford his office gave her general guidance to help her avoid any conflicts.
The governor’s spouse is subject to the state’s ethics code, which is enforced by the Office of State Ethics.
“Now, not only does she have to be concerned with her professional responsibilities, but also her ethical responsibilities,” McDonald said.
The Greater Hartford Arts Council received about $128,357 in state funding in fiscal year 2010, according to Transparency.CT.gov
According to its 2008 tax documents, the latest available for the organization, the organization’s budget was about $4.6 million. It pays out about $1.5 million to 150 arts and cultural organizations in the Greater Hartford region, and it connects the public with the arts and supports the area’s cultural community with umbrella marketing.
And while the amount of state funding remains fairly small compared to its overall budget, Mrs. Malloy will have to steer clear of any conflicts.
According to the same 2008 tax documents, the organization did retain a local lobbying firm to “follow arts—and nonprofit-related issues in the State General Assembly and executive branch.”
The tax documents say that for a monthly retainer the firm reports on “budget, legislative, and regulatory items that could affect funding, legal requirements, and operations.”
It goes onto say that “from time to time, the firm also advises actions we might take regarding various legislative and regulatory issues for the benefit of the cultural community.”
It’s likely Mrs. Malloy will steer clear of any involvement regarding legislative or executive lobbying efforts.
McDonald said the discussions about state ethics with Mrs. Malloy occurred in the spring before she started her job search so any issues could be discussed with her potential employer.
He said she’s spent most of her adult life working for one nonprofit or another and all of them receive, directly or indirectly, some state funding.
“The Greater Hartford Arts Council plays such a critical role in leading and promoting the arts throughout the Greater Hartford area,” Mrs. Malloy said in a prepared statement. “I could not be more excited to serve as the head of this important organization and to build on its mission to bolster the artistic community and to enhance the public’s appreciation for the arts.”
Before leading the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education, Mrs. Malloy was vice president of development and campaign director for the United Way of Stamford/Greenwich.